Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fed Up with Politics, Brazil Cities Swear in Outsider Mayors

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fed Up with Politics, Brazil Cities Swear in Outsider Mayors

Article excerpt

SAO PAULO * Brazil's two biggest cities inaugurated on Sunday mayors who are political outsiders and whose victories underscored deep frustration with the political class and public corruption.

Joao Doria, a millionaire businessman who once hosted "The Apprentice Brazil," took the oath of office in the country's financial capital of Sao Paulo. He defeated an ally of the president as well as the incumbent. Evangelical bishop and senator Marcelo Crivella was also sworn in, as Rio de Janeiro's mayor. He also defeated an ally of the president.

The victories of these unusual candidates speak to the depth of Brazilian discontent with politics. While many Brazilians have long dismissed their politicians as corrupt, an investigation into kickbacks at the state-run oil company Petrobras has revealed graft on a scale that has shocked even the most cynical. Arrests of politicians and businessmen seem to take place every week.

In an absurd illustration of Brazil's rampant corruption, just 10 of 15 city councilmen were choosing an interim mayor for Foz de Iguacu on Sunday. The electoral court rejected the winner of the mayoral election in that city because he was convicted of wrongdoing in office. Only 10 councilmen can vote on Sunday because the five others have been arrested on charges of corruption. A new mayoral election will be held in the coming months.

After his swearing in, Doria, who ran on the fact that he wasn't a politician but a successful businessman, promised a "strict adherence to ethics in public management at all levels of executive power."

He also spoke to voters' concerns about mismanagement by politicians, promising a better-run, cleaner, fairer Sao Paulo for all residents a massive task in a city that is a symbol of the enormous inequalities found in Brazil.

"I am a manager, and I will put management first for the city of Sao Paulo," he said. …

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